11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Vocabularies (Audio CD)
This album is a joy, from beginning to end. Much richer and deeper than his well- known work from the 80's, McFerrin invokes diverse musical styles from many traditions. Vocabularies journeys through many landscapes from its funny opening to its final sleepy whisper. Funky to serene, intense to jokey, from the dusty township (think Ladyship Black Mambazo) to the mountains of Bulgaria ( Mystere des voix Bulgares,) by way of Manhatten Transfer, the sky and your own living room. We talk to the spirits, sing to baby, and just have fun. It's all pure magic.
Producing and composing, Roger Treece is McFerrin's major co- contributor to this work. Huge credit must also go to each of over 50 singers and instrumentalists, who blend seamlessly into this truly glorious chorus.
Thanks to the clever use of woodwind and especially percussion (Alex Acuna,) we hear a vocal band, not a traditional choir. Wonderful on the set's closing piece "Brief Eternity" are the boy sopranos. There is a section of "Wailers" sung by an audience over 2,500. Languages, ensembles, dynamics and effects, this disc uses the widest imaginable vocal palette.
But "Messages," to my taste, is the very summit. I'm never satisfied to hear this song just once: it always demands at least one repeat hearing.
It features lyrics in many tongues, a core chant in Sanskrit, and a wonderfully evocative musical scale (with both a flattened second degree and fourth.) Disappointing and frustrating that here the lyrics in the booklet don't match properly what is sung. Is that a reason not to buy the album- no! Is it a reason to listen even more carefully and try learn the missing syllables the old- fashioned way? Absolutely!
"Vocabularies" is life- changing music. A blessing from McFerrin and Treece to the whole world. Be blessed.